Abandoned/Foreclosing Properties

The City of Lynn requires that the owners or mortgagees of abandoned or foreclosing residential properties to register annually with the Inspectional Services Department.

Registrations shall include the owner/mortgagee's physical mailing address in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts including, in the case of a corporation or realty trust, the entity's registered agent for service in the Commonwealth.

Properties shall be inspected prior to registration and at least monthly so long as the property remains registered.

Property registrations shall be valid for one year for the date of filing.The annual filing fee is $500 per property.

Changes in the ownership, servicing and/or property management shall be updated by filing a new registration within 7 business days.

To de-register a property, registrants must provide written proof of sale to a bona fide purchaser or an occupancy agreement.

Explanation of Terms

For purposes of implementing and enforcing this ordinance, the following definitions shall apply:

Abandoned property means any developed, residential property that is vacant and exhibits evidence of vacancy.

Vacant means any building or structure that is without lawful tenant, or lawful occupant, or without certificate of occupancy and/or otherwise exhibits evidence of vacancy. Vacant property does not mean property that is temporarily unoccupied while the residents are away on vacation, personal matters or business, or is not intended by the owner to be left vacant, so long as the period does not exceed 90 days.

Evidence of vacancy means any condition that would lead a reasonable person to believe that the property is unoccupied, including without limitation, overgrown and/or dead vegetation; past due utility notices and/or disconnected utilities; accumulation of trash, junk or debris; abandoned vehicles, auto parts or materials; the absence of furnishings and/or personal items consistent with habitation or occupancy; the presence of unsanitary, stagnant swimming pool; the accumulation of newspapers; circulars; flyers and/or mail; or statements by neighbors, passers-by, delivery agents or government agents; or the presence of boards over doors, windows or other openings in violation of the applicable code.

Foreclosing means the process by which a property, placed as security for a real estate loan, is prepared for sale to satisfy the debt if the borrower defaults. Properties at any stage of the foreclosure process shall be deemed foreclosing properties for purposes of this ordinance.

Initiation of the foreclosure process means taking any of the following actions: (i) taking possession of a property pursuant to M.G.L. c. 244 §1; (ii) publishing the first foreclosure notice of a property pursuant to M.G.L. c. 244 §14; or (iii) commencing a foreclosure action on a property in either the Land Court or Essex Superior Court.

Completion of the foreclosure process means the transfer or sale of a foreclosing property held by a mortgagee, lien holder, or their designee, to a non-related, bona fide purchaser in an arm's length transaction to satisfy the debt or lien.

Local Property Manager means an individual property manager, or property management company or similar entity responsible for monthly inspections, on-going maintenance and security of the property during the registration period.

Maintenance and Security

Owners and mortgagees shall conspicuously post registered properties with the name and 24-hour contact information for the Local Property Manager. Postings shall be visible from the street.

Properties shall be maintained in accordance with all applicable Sanitary Codes,
Building Codes, and local regulations, and monthly inspections shall ensure at a minimum that:

  • The structure to be secured from entry and the intrusion of weather or wildlife;
  • If heat is not maintained, the property is winterized to prevent the freezing of pipes and other damage to the interior of the property;
  • All accessory structures are secure from entry or use;
  • Keep the grounds including fences, sidewalks, driveways and yards, free from weeds, overgrown bush, dead vegetation, trash, junk, debris, building materials, any accumulation of newspaper circulars, flyers, notices, except those required by federal, state or local law, discarded personal items including, but not limited to, furniture, clothing, large and small appliances, printed material or any other items that the appearance that the property is abandoned;
  • Keep lawns and shrubbery trimmed in accordance with applicable local regulation(s);
  • Remove snow and ice from the walkways on or adjacent to the property commonly used by members of the public in accordance with applicable local regulation(s); and
  • Any other condition or circumstance subject to an order to correct from an authorized enforcement officer of the City of Lynn.

     

Penalties

Failure to register an abandoned/foreclosing property is punishable by a $300 fine, each day until the property is registered.

Failure to properly identify a Local Property Manager is punishable by a $300 fine, each day until a local property manager is identified.

Failure to maintain the property is punishable by a $300 fine, each day that the property remains in violation.

Application For Abandoned or Foreclosed Property

Abandoned & Foreclosed Properties Ordinance

Updated October 22, 2018